Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction / Romance
Edition: Back Bay Books, Jul 2009 (809 pages)
From the Cover:
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy that takes over the minds of human hosts. Most of humanity has succumbed. When Melanie - one of the last remaining humans is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, probes her thoughts to discover the whereabouts of the remainig human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer's minfd with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she is tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous search for the man they both love.
I’m not really a big fan of science fiction or books which centre on aliens. The same goes for movies. I adore paranormal and would gladly devour gory tales of vampires, werewolves, witches or fairies, but aliens are just not my cup of tea. For some odd reason, the former seems to be more acceptable and realistic even (at times quite believable), whereas aliens are just too far-fetched for me. Maybe it has something to do with history. Whilst vampires and witches have had their fair share of old women’s tales, aliens are still a mystery and not much are known about them except that if they did exist they’d probably have black beady eyes sitting on a head that is far too big for their frail green body. Or they’d look like a glow-in-the-dark bipedal creature that could morph into humans like the girl in Species. In any case, there is no consistency to what an alien can be. They can exist in any form as far as the creativity of the creator/author will allow.
In The Host, Meyer explores yet another new theory of aliens that invade planet earth: silver-like worms that take over the body of their hosts and pick their brains to survive, very much akin to parasites. As a writer, Meyer has this extraordinary ability to create the most intriguing of characters, which for me is what make her books really worth reading. The display of emotions from the love triangle between Wanderer a.k.a Wanda, Melanie and Jared is captivating and will pull you into the story straight away. The story isn’t without action either and you can expect a few cliff-hanging, chair-gripping moments. Whilst the scenes were good, I still have a problem with the basic foundations of the story i.e. how the aliens came into existence, Wanda’s million year old history and the various other planets that she’s “invaded” before. The arguments behind these were weak and not very convincing at all. It was easier to accept Meyer's theory of sparkling vampires than this (or maybe I’m just bias and too much of a sucker for Edward). To wrap things up, I’d say that this was a very good attempt by Meyer, definitely a different flavour from the Twilight Saga and would probably reach out to a new fan base of sci-fi lovers.
p/s: Despite my natural aversion towards aliens, this is actually the second book I've read about aliens this year. Look out for my review of "I am Number Four" coming up soon..